For us humans, healthy living has become a priority. Unfortunately, this inspired new lifestyle upgrade often excludes our pets. Obesity has become the number one health risk facing our fuzzy companions. We’re still spoiling them, and they’re still piling on the kilos – but that’s about to change!
Over 50% of South African pets are overweight or obese. Overweight pets not only have shorter lives but are also likely to be less happy than their slimmer counterparts. How do we know if our little buddies are overweight? Many vets say that if we look down, over our pets, we should be able to see a waistline. We should also be able to feel our pet’s ribs easily. (If the bones are visible through the skin, they might be underweight, so watch out for that as well.)
Sadly, a little belly, no matter how cute, will severely jeopardise the health of our pets. Research has clearly demonstrated that overweight animals have significantly shorter lives and are at higher risk of a host of life-threatening conditions that include arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. To nip this problem in the bud, here are some suggestions that we can all try today:
Skip the Buffet
Most importantly, if your pet is overweight, avoid regularly topping up their bowl. The single, greatest tool in the fight against pet-obesity is the mighty measuring cup. Many of us are guilty of guessing how much to feed our pets. Feeding them the right amount should be pretty easy since it’s stated on the side or back of every packet. And when your pet is being taken care of by someone else, make sure to share information on their new found healthier diet and previous conditions.
Who Let the Dogs Out?
Anyone with a dog just happens to have a no-excuse exercise buddy. They love running and playing more than anything, but if your pet isn’t in good shape, remember to start slowly. Go for relaxed, casual walks until they’ve built up a little bit of stamina. For dogs, a short 20 to 30-minute walk is all that’s required to keep them healthy. A moderately active routine can do wonders for an animal’s health. It can improve their immune systems, maintain a healthy heart, and can reduce various behavioural issues.
A walk might be out of the question on a rainy day. That’s okay because training your pup is also an excellent way to improve the relationship between owner and animal. Does your dog know basic obedience commands? It’s no small task, and not all of us have tried, but even the smartest, well-trained dogs need a refresher every now and then. All dogs should be able to sit, stay, drop their toy, and come when they’re called. These skills can take some time to develop, but a pet’s behaviour and health may really benefit in the end by keeping active and providing important stimulation.
Take a breather
Just a few minutes of excitement each day can make a significant difference over time for both you and your pet. A brisk walk is a great way to help burn off calories, and the joy written all over your pet’s face should make it well worth the extra effort. As pet owners, we also need to get some fresh air and sunshine every now and then.
PETport is a registered pet travel and relocation specialist service, trained and certified by international animal organisation, IPATA. With hands on care and experience passed down from one generation to the next, PETport is the best choice to transport fur-babies, fluff-babies and feather-babies.